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Chapter 16: The Americas

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glacier
huge sheet of ice
Mesoamerica
region which includes lands stretching from the Valley of Mexico to Costa Rica in Central America; farming began 9,000-10,000 years ago in this region
Olmec
ancient people who lived near present-day Vera Cruz, Mexico; they built a far-reaching trading empire which began around 1200 B.C. and lasted about 800 years
Teotihuacán
the first planned city in the Americas, it had a population of between 120,000 to 200,000 people; it was known as the Place of the Gods and reached its height around A.D. 400
Maya
ancient people who built a civilization in the steamy rain forests of the Yucatán Peninsula; they traded throughout Mesoamerica; they mysteriously abandoned their cities by the A.D. 900s
Toltec
ancient people who seized what is now northern Mexico as the Maya left their cities; these warrior nomads built the city of Tula northwest of present-day Mexico City; they tightly controlled the trade in obsidian
monopoly
control of all (or almost all) trade or production of a certain good
Moche
people who lived in the dry coastal desert of what is now Peru; they ruled from about A.D. 100 to A.D. 700; they irrigated their desert homeland with water from the rivers in the Andes mountain ranges
Inca
ancient people who lived in the Andes mountain ranges of present-day Peru; they built the biggest empire in the ancient Americas
Cuzco
capital of the Inca civilization founded in A.D. 1100
Hohokam
civilization that thrived from about A.D. 300 to the mid A.D. 1300s; these people planted corn, cotton, beans, and squash between the Salt and Gila rivers; dug canals to carry water to their fields
Anasazi
people who lived in an area that is now present-day New Mexico; they lived in huge apartment-like houses carved into cliffs, called pueblos; they farmed and controlled the trade in turquoise
Cahokia
the largest Native American city near the Mississippi in what is now southwestern Illinois; they built pyramid-shaped mounds with flat tops; the largest is called Monk's Mound; largest city in Mesoamerica (pop. 30,0000
Petén
Mayan word for "flat region"; located in present-day Guatemala, these dense forests nearly blocked out the sun; it contained swamps and sinkholes which provided a year-round source of water
Tenochtitlán
one of the greatest cities in the world, it was built by the Aztecs and it served as their capital and center for trade; it was constructed on a swampy island in present-day central Mexico.[means "place of the prickly pear cactus"]
Pachacuti
the greatest Incan leader, he built the largest ancient empire in the Americas, which stretched north to south about 2,500 miles; he built the estate of Machu Picchu, located thousands of feet high in the Andes
quipu
rope with knotted cords of different lengths and colors (Inca used this)
igloo
dome-shaped home built by the Inuit
adobe
type of sun-dried mud brick
confederation
a loose union of several groups or states (type of gov.)
Iroquois
Native Americans in the Woodlands who set up a league which included five groups: Onondaga, Seneca, Mohawk, Oneida, and Cayuga; they wanted to end the fighting among themselves
Christopher Columbus
Italian sea captain who convinced Spain's rulers that he could reach Asia by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean; he landed on an island in the Caribbean in 1492
Hispaniola
island which is present day Haiti and the Dominican Republic; Columbus landed there during his first exploration in 1492
conquistador
Spanish soldier-explorer in the Americas
Extremadura
the part of Spain known for its poor soil, blistering hot summers, and icy winters
Hernán Cortés
Spanish conquistador who, with a small army, conquered Montezuma and the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán
Montezuma II
Aztec emperor who dreamed that a huge army would one day invade the Aztec; he feared Cortés was a god coming to reclaim his land and did not immediately fight the Spanish; he was killed during later fighting
Malintzin
A Mayan woman given to Cortés by the Tabascans; she spoke both Mayan and Nahuati, the language of the Aztec; the information she gave Cortés helped him form alliances to defeat Montezuma
treason
disloyalty to the government
Francisco Pizarro
Spanish explorer who captured the Inca empire in Peru; Pizarro's conquest opened most of South America to Spanish rule; marched with Balboa; not of noble birth
Atahualpa
emperor of the Inca; Pizarro had him tried in a military court; he was sentenced to death in 1533
seek
to look for; to attempt to find
complex
complicated; involved
cooperation
group effort to work together to accomplish same purpose